PokerStars Trio Series Smashes Expectations in Spain, France, Portugal

PokerStars‘ newly-shared market of Portugal, Spain and France is off to a fast start with over €6.4 million awarded in the recent Trio Series.

PokerStars Europe, which shares liquidity between all three countries, offered the Trio Series to celebrate Portugal finally coming online.

The 78-tournament series featured a €5 million guarantee but that ended up being a conservative estimate with nearly €6.5 million awarded by the time the final tournament entry was tabulated.

The Main Event alone awarded €615,195 with eventual winner Ineed1000ETH outlasting 2,645 players to take down €71,917.

Trio’s success has also led to more clamoring from Italian players, who are currently region-blocked, to finally be included on PokerStars Europe.

Trio draws 40,816 unique entries

It’s safe to say that players in France, Portugal and Spain are happy to once again have access to big MTTs.

The Trio Series drew a total of 40,816 entries over the course of its 78 individual events. It’s easy to forget that PokerStars recently held SCOOP for Spanish and French players, which ended up awarding over €11.7 million.

Apparently Spanish and French players didn’t get enough because they signed up for the Trio Series en mass.

“We’ve had great success with our various series in shared liquidity regions and it’s brilliant to see the Trio Series carry on this trend,” said Severin Rasset, Director of Product Innovation and Operations at The Stars Group.

“We believe that this has strengthened our offering in Southern Europe and we will continue to work hard to give our players the best experience in the market.

“Players benefit from the shared player pool between Portugal, Spain and France in all aspects of the poker offering and we hope that Italian players will benefit from the same great offer soon.”

PokerStars is the first operator to offer regulated, fully legal, online poker with shared liquidity between all three countries although several other operators including 888poker have declared their intention to do the same.

The Spanish and French PokerStars’ sites start sharing players this January while Portugal entered the fray in May.

Make Trio a Quadro?

The success of the Trio Series has renewed hope for Italians to join the action relatively soon.

Italy, which remains one of the biggest poker markets in Europe, initially signed on board to join the four-country agreement to share liquidity between itself, Spain, France and Portugal.

In the last year, Italian legislators back-pedaled, however, and began making vague accusations about poker being a vehicle for laundering money.

Regardless Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi has stated the company will continue to push hard for Italian players to be included on PokerStars Europe. There’s no question that Italy would be a welcome addition to the site.

There are already some signs that the shared liquidity between Spain, France and Portugal is having a positive effect on the industry as a whole.

According to PokerIndustryPro the French regulator ARJEL reported that gaming revenue for Q1 grew by over 8% to hit a five-year high of €68.9 million. That kind of growth is rare in the online poker industry these days.

Interestingly cash game revenue remained effectively static but revenue from tournaments spiked by 15%, which could represent a changing trend in the overall industry.

Big traffic coming for PokerStars Europe?

PokerStars Europe currently ranks third in PokerScout’s overall traffic rankings behind Asian poker network IDNPoker.

Those numbers will likely only go up as more and more players from France, Spain and Portugal return to a site that’s now brimming with action.

It will be particularly eye-opening to see what kind of numbers a WCOOP series would attract in the fall. If PokerStars decides to offer a WCOOP in Europe, which seems likely.

Of course, the elephant in the room remains Italy. If Italy joins PokerStars Europe it would likely solidify the site in second place in the overall traffic rankings trailing only the gargantuan global